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Jacek Bozek is building a citizen’s movement to preserve Poland’s rivers and to stop ecologically irresponsible development projects. His project thus far has focused mainly on Poland’s largest river, the Vistula, which is one of Europe’s last great “untamed” rivers. However, Jacek is expanding his work to other rivers in Poland and is working to export his model to the remaining natural river eco-systems throughout the continent.
The Vistula river supports a critical eco–system that, if damaged, would have continent–wide consequences. Poland is an important migratory stop for many of Europe’s rarest birds that rely on the rivers and surrounding forests for breeding grounds. Sixty–two percent of all European birds can be found in the forests surrounding the Vistula. Moreover, the region is also critical for other animal species. According to Jacek, approximately 50 percent of vertebrates found in the Vistula region are on the endangered species list. Thus the Vistula river basin is ecologically pivotal for all of Europe, not just Poland.
Klub Gaja has been active in various fields of environmental protection for more than 25 years. They work in the field ofnature conservation. The team carries out national campaigns and programs aimed at protection of rivers and river valleys. They publicize environmental risks and problems related to human activity and emphasize our shared responsibility for the state of our environment. In their educational activities, events and workshops, they use non–conventional methods andvarious forms of art.
Jacek Bożek is building a citizen’s movement to preserve Poland’s rivers and to stop ecologically irresponsible development projects. His approach is based on his insight that the most important ingredient of a successful environmental campaign is local commitment. Moreover he is achieving his goal though a multi–pronged approach, which is designed to educate and engage the general public, counteract the aggressive lobbying tactics of pro–development interest in Poland, build coalitions between various Polish citizens’ organizations and river communities, and present alternative forms of development that will not harm fragile eco–systems.
The mission of Klub Gaja is to protect our planet Earth and to preserve the natural environment for us and for future generations. The idea is an indepth approach to ecology and theuncompromising protection of Mother Earth. Aware thatmultifarious elements of the world around us are inseparable and that it is impellent to satisfy our needs, they focused the activities of Klub Gaja on individual development and group work.
Jacek attributes his social activism to his parents who taught him the importance and value of helping others and standing up for what you believe. When asked about his inspiration forinnovation, Jacek is fond of telling the story of an innovative ancestor who according to family legend invented the steam engine at around the same time as did James Watt.